When it was being discussed back in the summer, it was claimed that cracking down on the abuse would solve the problem. Guess that didn't work.
This is under the 1,000 page "farm bill". It won't come as a surprise when the cuts affect farmers and grocery prices for everyone.
The 1,000-page "farm bill" being debated in the Senate is somewhat of a misnomer. Four of every five dollars in it - roughly $80 billion a year - goes for grocery bills for one of every seven Americans through food stamps.
Republicans say Congress could cut the cost $2 billion a year by just closing a pair of loopholes that some states use to award benefits to people who otherwise might not qualify.
Democrats led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ofNew Yorkare resisting a proposal by Agriculture Committee leaders in both parties to trim a modest $250 million from the program each year by cracking down on abuses.
They say that would deprive about half a million households losing an average $90 a month in food aid.
To qualify, households, except those with elderly or disabled members, must have gross incomes below 130 percent of the poverty line. The Agriculture Department, which runs the program, says the average monthly benefit per person as of last November was $134.15. As for helping the economy, it calculates that each dollar in benefits generates $1.72 in economic activity, including 16 cents for farmers who grow the food.
While critics such as Sessions say the program is ripe for savings, the department says SNAP is doing a good job of eradicating fraud and error, with only 3 percent of payments in 2010 being excessive or going to ineligible households.
She said the bill already takes steps to eliminate abuses in the system, such as barring lottery winners from receiving benefits, ending misuse by college students, cracking down on benefit trafficking and preventing liquor and tobacco stores from accepting food assistance benefits. It also targets a practice of some 16 states of giving as little as $1 to individuals in home heating assistance so that they can qualify for additional food stamp benefits.
In an agreement reached by the two parties late Monday on what amendments to the farm bill will be allowed, Sessions will get a vote on amendments that target efforts by states to get as large a share of federal food stamp aid as possible. None of the changes, he said, would result in people going hungry.
[link to www2.ohio-votes.com